Joe-D, Thank You for a clarification of the factors involved.
I am somewhat surprised by the initial point involved concerning slaves being allowed bibles.
It had always been my understanding that the last thing the slave owners wanted were literate slaves let alone slaves filled with Faith in a God that will do the exact things He has promised in the scriptures.
When it comes to literacy the historical legislation concerning slaves that I have found so far makes no exception for bible study , and seems to verify what I have always understood .
"Slaves Are Prohibited to Read and Write by Law
Slavemasters understood that their social control of the slaves could not be based solely on physical coercion. Knowledge was power, and virtually all slave codes established in the United States set restrictions making it illegal to teach slaves to read or write. The statute below, passed by the state of North Carolina in 1830—1831, was fairly typical.
AN ACT TO PREVENT ALL PERSONS FROM TEACHING SLAVES TO READ OR WRITE, THE USE OF FIGURES EXCEPTED
Whereas the teaching of slaves to read and write, has a tendency to excite dis-satisfaction in their minds, and to produce insurrection and rebellion, to the manifest injury of the citizens of this State:
Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of North Carolina, and it is hereby enacted by the authority of the same, That any free person, who shall hereafter teach, or attempt to teach, any slave within the State to read or write, the use of figures excepted, or shall give or sell to such slave or slaves any books or pamphlets, shall be liable to indictment in any court of record in this State having jurisdiction thereof, and upon conviction, shall, at the discretion of the court, if a white man or woman, be fined not less than one hundred dollars, nor more than two hundred dollars, or imprisoned; and if a free person of color, shall be fined, imprisoned, or whipped, at the discretion of the court, not exceeding thirty nine lashes, nor less than twenty lashes.
II. Be it further enacted, That if any slave shall hereafter teach, or attempt to teach, any other slave to read or write, the use of figures excepted, he or she may be carried before any justice of the peace, and on conviction thereof, shall be sentenced to receive thirty nine lashes on his or her bare back.
III. Be it further enacted, That the judges of the Superior Courts and the justices of the County Courts shall give this act in charge to the grand juries of their respective counties.
Source: “Act Passed by the General Assembly of the State of North Carolina at the Session of 1830—1831” (Raleigh: 1831). "
From this legislation it sounds very much like a slave owner himself could end up in very hot legal water were it discovered he was supplying his slaves with reading material of any kind .
: I would start out by pointing out to the people making such allegations concerning slaves being encouraged to read bibles the actual legislative record revealing the absolute paranoid nature of slave owners concerning them achieving any advancement educationally.
Let alone giving them access to an uplifting orthodoxy of fellowship with a transforming God who is able to make all things new and is able to makes slaves citizens of His Heaven with nothing more than a knock.
" Knock and it shall be opened unto you." ( Luke 11:9 )